Q1: Describe the various dimensions of poverty.
Poverty is one of the most difficult challenges faced by independent India. There are many dimensions of poverty:
- Poverty means hunger and lack of shelter.
- It is also a situation in which parents are not able to send their children to school or a situation where sick people cannot afford treatment.
- Poverty also means lack of clean water and sanitation facilities.
- It also means lack of a regular job at a minimum decent level.
- Poverty also means living with a sense of helplessness. Poor people are in a situation in which they are illtreated at almost every place. They face insult in their daily life. Mahatma Gandhi always insisted that India would be truly independent only when the poorest of its people become free of human suffering.
Q2: ‘Poverty is a curse upon humanity’. Support the statement.
- Poverty is a curse upon humanity. It fills people with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. The victims of poverty face social exclusion. They are excluded from enjoying social equality of better-off people in better surroundings.
- These people fail to get health care, safe drinking water, proper education and respect. They do not lead a life of dignity. Rather, they are ill-treated at almost every place.
- Those living in abject poverty face greater risks at the time of natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, etc. Their safety is ignored in these circumstances.
- Children of poverty-ridden families are not sent to school. These children are forced to earn money by working at dhabas, or at construction sites or at houses of well-off people.
Obviously, nobody would like to live in poverty. It is a curse of which its victims should be brought out without delay.
Q3: Give a detailed description of all the poverty alleviations programmes.
Removal of poverty has been a major objective of Indian development strategy. The current anti-poverty strategy of the government is based on two planks:
- Promotion of economic growth, and
- Targeted anti-poverty programmes
Promotion of economic growth:
Since the eighties, India’s economic growth has been one of the fastest in the world. The growth rate jumped from the average of about 3.5 per cent a year in the 1970s to about 6 per cent during the 1980s and 1990s. The higher growth rates have helped significantly in the reduction of poverty.
Targeted anti-poverty programmes:
The government has started many schemes for the removal of poverty. Some of them are:
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, (MGNREGA) 2005 aims to provide loo days of wage employment to every household to ensure livelihood security in rural areas.
- Prime Minister Rozgar Yoj ana (PMRY) was started in 1993 with an aim to create self-employment opportunities for educated unemployed youth in rural areas and small towns.
- Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) was launched in 1995. Its aim is to create self-employment opportunities in rural areas and small towns.
- Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) was launched in 1999. The programme aims at bringing the assisted poor families above the poverty line by orgamsing them into self-help groups through a mix of bank credit and government subsidy.
- Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Rozgar Yojana was launched in 2000. Under this scheme additional central assistance is given to states for basic services such as primary health, primary education, rural shelter, rural drinking water and rural electrification.
Q4: Describe how economic growth and poverty reduction are interlinked.
- Over a period of thirty years lasting up to the early eighties, there were little per capita income growth and not much reduction in poverty.
- Since the eighties, India’s economic growth has been one of the fastest in the world. The growth rate jumped from the average of about 3.5 per cent a year in the 1970s to about 6 per cent during the 1980s and 1990s. The higher growth rates have helped significantly in the reduction of poverty.
- Economic growth widens opportunities and provides the resources needed to invest in human development. This also encourages people to send their children, including the girl child, to schools in hope of getting better economic returns from investing in education.
Q5: How did the following states succeed in reducing poverty—Kerala, Punjab and Haryana, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu?
There has been a significant decline in poverty in these states.
- Kerala has focused more on human resource development.
- States like Punjab and Haryana have traditionally succeeded in reducing poverty with the help of high agricultural growth rates.
- In West Bengal, land reform measures have helped in reducing poverty.
- In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu public distribution of food grains could have responsible for the improvement.
Q6: “The results of the poverty alleviation programmes have been mixed”. Support the statement with three valid reasons.
- One of the major reasons for less effectiveness is the lack of proper implementation and right targeting.
- Besides, there has been a lot of overlapping of schemes.
- Despite good intensions, the benefits of these programmes are not fully reached to the deserving poor. So, proper monitoring of all the poverty alleviation programmes is being given much importance.
Q7: Mention any six issues related to poverty.
Here are the issues related to poverty:
- Size of families
- Poor health/ Malnutrition
- Child labour
Q8: Make an analysis of poverty through the concept of social exclusion.
- Social exclusion is a concept-adopted to analyses poverty in a broader sense. According to this concept, poverty must be seen in terms of the poor having live only in a poor surrounding with other poor people. These people are excluded from enjoying social equality of better-off people in better surroundings.
- Social exclusion can be both a cause as well as a consequence of poverty. Broadly, it is a process through which individuals or groups are excluded from facilities, benefits and opportunities that better-off people avail.
- We can mention here the caste system which has been in existence in India since time immemorial. In this system people belonging to certain castes are excluded from equal opportunities. Thus, social exclusion can cause more damage than having a very low income.
Q9: How was the British colonial administration responsible for the widespread poverty in India?
The major reasons for poverty in India are given below:
- The economic development under the British colonial administration was at low level. The policies of colonial government mined traditional handicrafts and discouraged development of industries like textiles. The low rate of growth remained till the Nineteen-eighties. As a result, job opportunities became less. The promotion of economic growth would have changed the scenario but it could not be done.
- The ever-increasing population is also a major reason for poverty in our country. Population control measures failed achieve the desired goal. This perpetuated the cycle of poverty.
- There are huge income inequalities In our country. One of the major reasons for this is the unequal distribution of land and other resources. Major policy initiatives like land reforms which aimed at redistribution of assets in rural areas have not been, implemented properly and effectively by most of the state governments.
- The socio-cultural and economic factors are also responsible for poverty. People in India, including the very poor, spend a lot of money on religious ceremonies.
- Small farmers have hardly any savings. So, they borrow money to buy agricultural inputs like seeds, fertiliser, pesticides, etc. Unable to repay, they become victims of indebtedness which push them into poverty.
Q10: Why do social scientists look at poverty through a variety of indicators?
Ans: Usually the indicators used relate to the levels of income and consumption. But now poverty is looked through other social indicators like illiteracy level, lack of general resistance due to malnutrition, lack of access to healthcare, lack of job opportunities, lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation, etc.